Restoring antique buggies
Goudys resurrect a part of Saskatchewan’s history
Hugh and Grace Goudy of Stoughton, Saskatchewan, have resurrected many antique horse-drawn vehicles from rotting obscurity and gave them back their pride. After reading a book which questioned the fate of all the old buggies, Hugh became involved in restoring and preserving that portion of history. Mr. Goudy passed away on December 4th, 2006 leaving his collection of buggies and related articles to his family.
Goudy was a wheelwright and his wife did the upholstery work. Local folks were enlisted to assist by welding or building replacement parts. Up until 1979 they had restored five antique buggies, which all have a special claim to fame, as well as other vehicles. A gleaming black surrey with wine upholstery and elegant fringe was retrieved from the Moose Mountains and given new life and dignity. Hugh related the story “We cut down four trees to get it out,”. The chassis was scheduled to go to Arcola for scrap Iron when a fellow told me about it. We found it rotting under leaf mould. You wouldn’t give five cents for the way it looked then. Even the iron braces had rotted and we had to rebuild them.” Grace, his wife, used a black and wine patterned bedspread to line the surrey top and there was just enough fringe on the bedspread to go around. Narrow gold tape was used to add pinstripes on the wheel spokes and around the body for further distinction. The surrey was used to transport government dignitaries at the official opening of the New Hope Pioneer Lodge at Stoughton and has also been used by newly weds.
Hughie was proud of his wheelwright skills, he would say, ” if you give me a hub, I can always build the wheel”. He aquired his skills early in life, watching the work and receiving instruction from a nearby wheelwright. To build a wheel he would buy the spokes and fellows, usually of hickory wood. It would take approximately ten hours of work and cost around ($100.00) one hundred dollars to make each wheel replacement. His tools were basic – a starter, a hand-turned hollow auger and a wheelwright’s wheel. Putting the wheel together looks simple but a person has to know how to use the tools properly. Today the rims are welded rather than the slower method of heat, hammer and forge.
Each vehicle has its own history and a story of its restoration. The three-seater buggy featured here was retreived from the same field as the prized Surrey. Research indicates that the large buggy was used as a hearse in the late 1890’s. The two back seats on it lift out and the back of the box drops down for the easier loading of caskets, or other cargo. The first restored vehicles had been housed in a shed in the country. Then, Goudy’s decided to build a storage shed in town in the shape of a red barn to house the restored vehicles.
Open by appointment only. Call Sharon at 306-457-2551, or Sandra at 306-457-3198